About five weeks ago on a Sunday, I headed into the city to buy a particular item. Most shops open at 12 midday, but the shop the item was in did not open until 2pm. So I decided to wander and browse around the side streets in comfort with no crowds.
I came across a new coffee shop. The name and colour caught my attention, so wandered over to have a look. The place was closed, but two signs in the window were noteworthy. One saying the super duper machine was still on its way. The second saying " cash only " some words relating to a delay.
Fast forward four weeks and I returned to the city on a mid-week day. Having made time in my schedule, I decided to visit the above mentioned shop. Imagine my surprise when the two signs from four weeks before were still up on the windows. Luckily I had cash in my pocket. The interior was well laid out, so I ordered a coffee and sat down to wait. This was an alternative coffee to the one the super duper machine would roast.
It was by far the best coffee I had in a coffee shop since the Cyprus coffee in Theo's of Pathos, Cyprus. The coffee was priced about 10% higher than most in town. The had Kilo bags of these coffee beans on shelves, but no prices on display. As someone who buys coffee beans from small local roasters around the country, I have a fair idea of the average price of beans.
Two things prevented me from becoming a customer of the beans. Lack of price and they still were only taking cash and all I had was $5 in my pocket and the beans were going to cost more than that. There was one other thing missing, no owner/ patron on site to describe why I should walk to an ATM to get cash to buy their super beans. Just staff, chatting and checking their smart phones.
It is fine to add some mystique to your retail venture. But when the customer's perception is different to the mystique you intended, confusion and lack of creditability creep into your customers mind. In my mind I had no issue when I first saw the signs, as I have never come across a venture that didn't have some hiccup starting out. I was looking forward to becoming a patron. But when the same signs are there four weeks later, the perception of the establishment had changed in my mind. Why had they not resolved the card issue was the one that stuck in my mind. Did the bank know something we didn't ?
It is the small unintended items which have a habit of changing the perception of your customer. If your customer changes their perception of you to the negative or doubtful, then the price they are willing to pay for your goods or services will decrease. However if their perception goes up, the price they are willing to pay goes up. Almost a universal paradox. Except you have control of the paradox.
Perception and price go hand in hand. They are not two separate items. In your customer's mind they are like Janus, two faces of the same coin.
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